tv The American Miracle CSPAN October 1, 2017 8:47pm-9:02pm EDT
[inaudible conversations] >> booktv is on twitter and facebook. we want to hear from you: >> you're watching booktv on c-span2. it's television for serious readers. we're at the paris hotel in las vegas for the freedomfest libertarian convention and interviewing authors who are speaking here. up next with us, michael medved. here's hiss most recent book "the american miracle: divine providence in the rise of the republic" what was your goal with this book. >> guest: my goal was to answer a fundamental question that i think has profound consequences to all of our politics and our cultural and the way that americans feel about our country. the question is, how did america
rise to world dominance? it would have been totally unpredictable from the perspective of, say, 1600s, before america was even begun to be settled. north america was largely wilderness, very lightly settled. there were a disparity number of diverse native american cultures and all of a sudden you have an historical time, you have the world dominant civilization in terms of military power, economic power, culture, here in north america. so, often today the politically correct answer is america rows to world power because america is uniquely guilty of exploiting slave labor, guilty of committing genocide against native americans, spoiling the environment, prepping people, engaging in imperial abroad and slatiering millions. you hear that in many universitied but that's not every significant american leader has believed.
those leaders have believed that the rise of the united states occurred through divine providence because they dispensation buy a higher power to uplift the whole world. that was the belief of jefferson who was religiously unconventional, to sale the least. of lincoln, who was religiously unconventional, through franklin roosevelt and i would argue -- i do argue in the book -- that as far more reasonable belief than any alternative. the reason for that is people may say that america's benefited from a series of happy accidents. but a pattern of happy accidents is still a pattern. it's evidence not of random evolution but of design, pattern, purpose, and i think that's the sense that americans should regain. >> host: from your book, you write: looking for indications
of fate or providence in the broad sweep of history, there's scant connection to a search for the divine countenance in misshapen -- >> guest: yes. in other words, one of the things that people say is they will take a look at the stories of -- there was recently one where there was a stain in a car window and it looked a little bit like the virgin mary and people were coming to look at it. okay, fine, that's fine, but that is actually trying to look at some little thing as an indication of something big. what i do in the american miracle, what i do in my book, is to look at big things that are evidence of an even bigger thing. the point is not that america has been uniquely good, we're uniquely deserving of some kind of divine reward. what lincoln said, the last three chapters in the book are
about lincoln and his spiritual struggle with what he was meant to do, and lincoln used the term repeatedly, 12 times in private correspondence and pock statements, he saw himself as the instrument of a higher power. not as the author of a design but of -- as an interest of that -- instrument of that design and that's the american idea, in other words, great song written in 1893 by a lady who came to the debates, came to the top of pike's pike's peak and s, america, god shed his grace on thee. one of the characteristics of grace is it's undeserve evidence. it is, as robert frost said in his inaugural poem for john kennedy, it's give outright, a
gift that is given and it's a gift given so that america can serve a higher purpose and that purpose seems undeniable. give you one example. napoleon bonaparte, someone who is known for seizing territory, what is it that led him to the consternation of most of this advisers, including his own two brothers who tried to stop him to give away, basically for peanuts, an area five times the size of france itself, the louisiana purchase? we have 15 states that are carved out of that. it doubled the size of the country. whenever jefferson brought that deal home, and a deal he didn't look for and wasn't expecting, it was napoleon gaving it to the country, horatio gates, hero of the revolution, said there's an air of enchantment to it and alexander hamilton, jefferson's great rival -- this is just
shortly before he was killed in a duel -- but hamilton wrote that clearly this was a sign of divine providence no other explanation. now, partially he would rather give credit to god than tom that jefferson, his rival, but still the story depends upon about 15 different things happening in a very peculiar way and then, boom, the result is this. one thing that happened in a peculiar way was the only time in all of human history, in the 5,000 years where we have pretty good historical record -- only one has there been a slave rebellion that was successful. in haiti. and what i talk about in the book is the way that slave rebellion forced bonaparte's hand and led to this huge tract of land being essentially given
the united states of america. >> my more contemporary examples of divine providence as you call it? >> guest: there are. not in this book but in the book i'm working on right now. this is -- the first part its first part of a two-part series and this covers american miracles between 1620 and the arrival of the pilgrims, and the end of the civil war and lincoln's assassination. and if you want to look at a contemporary event that are extraordinary to the condition tri -- i think you can look back now and see it -- the end of the cold war and america's victory in the cold war, which became clear and apparent in 199, depended on two old men in 1981, both of whom took bullets that
came in both cases within a quarter of an inch of clearly killing them, and should have, and ronald reagan, who he would have bled to death if his secret service agent did what the president wanted. he wanted to go back to white house and they said no, you have to go to the hospital and he was close to death. if reagan dyes in '81. if john paul ii dies in 198, 1 those bullet goes a little bit this way or that way, it's very likely that the cold war does not end the same way it did, the infinite blessing of humanity. i still have distant relatives in russia, and as pad as things may be in russia right now, and -- this is not the old
soviet union. when you look at the fact that poland and ukraine ask the czech republic and slovakia are all aligned with the west, these are miracles. this is stuff -- you may not be old enough to remember, but 30 years ago, if you had suggested this to someone, that this was likely -- thought you were nuts. poland is part of nato? are you kidding me? in any event, this is a very, very big development in all of human history. one other one. and again, this goes back to the book. i was speaking with this yesterday here at freedomfest with someone who is here -- the mexican national, and there was this incredible aspect to the end of the mexican war. there was a very, very big push
in washington, dc by the polk administration and by democrats in congress, for what was call the all-mexico movement. we had won the war and occupying mexico and there war group of largely southerners who wanted to annex all of mexico and create 15 new slave states. because it's to the south. mexico was very antislavery. in any event, president polk sent a clerk from the state department, named nicholas tripp, who was jefferson's last private secretary, married jefferson's granddaughter, in any event, he was negotiating with mexico, and he does not -- he loathes the idea of the united states taking over all of mexico. and so trying to negotiate and trying to get a deal. polk fires him. sends word negotiation longer representing the united states. no more negotiations.
just says, speaks to miss mexican cars parts and they said shall we continue to negotiate? they said, sure. polk send as new message. and says, i'm sending troops. they will arrest you. we will bring you back in chains. he crimes on negotiating. on february 2nd, he signs the treaty which focuses on something he had been concern about which was that california is ceded to the united states with took over california. here the deal. polk, when he heard about this, is going to rip up the treaty, not pay any attention and it's unofficial. here's the payoff. the same week that he finished the treaty, they discovered gold out of sacramento. he had no way of knowing but a it's 1600 miles away.
so, when the treaty arrived it's a master stroke. people are applauding president polk. godden all this felled and that changed america because it was the gold reserves that came out of the california gold rush that fueled this enormous expansion of the american america. we had the greatest gold reserved in world, thank you, niklas, and thank you, providence. ... tv tapes hundreds of other programs throughout the country all year long. here is a look at some of the
events we will be coming this week. tuesday, new york public library in manhattan was to hear mike wallace discuss the continuation of his pulitzer prize-winning history of new york city. later that day will be in san francisco at the commonwealth club where lila donovan will argue that providing jobs for the world's poor is more sustainable than eight. wednesday at the nation's capital if the publishing company 70 anniversary party. on friday, we are off to detroit to source booksellers to hear historians examine the roles that they replayed in the city's early history. wrapping up the week on saturday, we are back in washington dc at politics and prose bookstore where scott greenberger will recount the life of president chester a arthur. that is a look at some of the events tv will be covering this week. many of these events are open to the public. look for them to air in the near future on book tv on c-span2.
>> next up on book tvs "after words", investigative journalist reports on the mental health industry. he looks at treatment facilities, pharmaceutical company, and highlights clinicians for challenging traditional methods of treatment. mr. levine is interviewed by jeffrey lieberman, director of the new york state psychiatric institute and author of shrinks the untold story of psychiatry. >> host: i'm here with art levine, noted journalist and author and we are going to discuss today his book mental health inc. it's great to be with you. first, let me thank you for your interest in mental illness and mental health care. too few of your colleagues have seen this is an area to focus on and provide public interested